More commonly stated as “nature abhors a vacuum,” this is a principle of physics which is attributed to Aristotle (384-322 BC). While it has turned into a subject of much debate among scientists that has lasted for thousands of years, the premise has been proven true time and time again.
Of course, Aristotle was talking about physical things. We know, though, that the principle extends to emotional and spiritual things as well. Jesus said:
When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:43-45)
Perhaps Paul had this in mind when he wrote,
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
The principle is the same! Ridding ourselves of unhealthy habits, styles, attitudes, actions, or attributes is great, but what are we putting in their place?
Did you notice in Jesus’ words concerning the unclean spirit, that when the spirit returned he found the house empty, swept, and put in order? The implication is that the man from whom the spirit went out was glad he was gone! The man had taken pains to remove any evidence that the spirit had ever been there, and was seeking to restore order from where chaos had been. Here is a good first step! Without putting the house of your life in order, there is no purpose, no goal, no end in removing those things which are not wanted or needed. But leaving the house empty is not enough. The house needs to be filled with the Spirit.
But how is a house/life filled with the Spirit? Go back a few verses in Ephesians 5. Watch your step (verse 15); use time wisely (verse 16); know the will of the Lord (verse 17). Certainly this is not an all-inclusive list of what to do to fill a life, but a better starting point will not be found.